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Webcomic: Ctrl+Alt+Del

Ctrl+Alt+Del is a Two Gamers on a Couch webcomic, following the adventures of two guys, a girl, and a robot who alternate between sitting around playing video games and getting up to wacky hijinks.

The comic alternated its updates between story-based strips and video game-specific ones, until on November 24, 2012 the comic concluded its main storyline, wrapping up the stories of Ethan, Lilah, Lucas, and Zeke. Following this conclusion, the comic has become almost exclusively video-game jokes, now starring the four colored players previously seen in occasional earlier joke strips. This was used as placeholder content until the main storyline was rebooted, now featuring Ethan and Lucas as a gaming-themed superhero team, with a marked change in drawing style, being much more dynamic and detailed.

Not to be confused with the three-finger-salute/Vulcan Nerve Pinch.

There is also an animated adaption, Ctrl+Alt+Del: The Animated Series. Its site is here.


This webcomic contains examples of:

  • Achey Scars: On Ethan's shoulder and caused by Rory — which has only been mentioned once and never again.
  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: This strip. "Blame the microwave burrito you ate before bed!"
  • Affably Evil: Rory. Maybe too affable.
  • The Alcoholic: Ethan, when he's depressed.
  • Aloof Older Brother/Jerk Jock: Rory.
  • Alt Text/Footnote Fever:
    • The Annotated Series.
    • Before the revamp, the alt-text was just repeating the name of the strip. Post-revamp, it's now the de facto name of the strip since they're now untitled.
  • Animated Adaptation: Uses different storylines than those of the comic itself. Wasn't well recieved, Blind Ferret Entertainment, who produced season one had this to say:
    Ryan Sohmer: We produced Ctrl+Alt+Del season one. Never again. Lost HUGE amounts of money.
  • Art Evolution: A slow one, but after stagnating for quite some time, the comic has gotten much more dynamic, moving away from its infamous Cut and Paste Comic status. The Analog and D-pad arc in particular shows a drastic change (for the better) in art quality.
  • Ascended Extra: The colored "players" are the main recurring characters post-reboot
  • Atomic F-Bomb: Ethan lets one loose in the cartoon.
  • Author Avatar: The main character, Ethan, has an outstanding physical resemblance to Buckley, and Buckley admitted he based the character on himself just how most of the cast are based on real life friends of his.
  • Axe Crazy: The Four Players, but mostly Two and Four.
  • Babies Ever After: For Lucas
  • Bears Are Bad News: Poor Faildruid.
  • Becoming the Mask: Meta example, but the current Something Awful mock thread has moved on to drawing fan art (ban art) of Buckley's characters, often in an attempt to fix the flaws in his writing/art/characterisation. This has led to the horrible realisation:
    We are the CAD fans!
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rory saves Ethan with a fire extinguisher attacking the Hawaiian Mafia.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending of the the main storyline. Ethan gives his life in a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the annihilation of two universes, never making it back home, never getting to say "I love you" to Lilah one last time. Everyone mourns his death, but eventually moves on. Zeke reveals himself, saying that he's just "trying to find his place in the world." Lucas learns to love again, marrying Kate and having a son which he names after Ethan. His legacy is remembered in the form of "The Ethan MacManus Church of Gaming". We're left with an image of Lilah looking up at said church with a proud but sorrowful smile.
  • Bound and Gagged: Happens to Lilah in one strip when she's kidnapped.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Done quite literally in this strip.
  • Broken Aesop: The comic makes it clear it's wrong to be a "console fanboy," in one strip even having God personally squash one. Fine. We'll buy that; a bit Anvilicious, but an adequate Aesop of its own. However, there are issues with this, since the fanboys are always gamecube fans, the evil Gamer King in an early strip used a staff with a golden Gamecube controller on top (versus Ethan's Xbox one), Ethan playing a Gamecube is referred to as a "sin against the gaming gods," he mentions that turning the Gamecube into a robot would result into a girl robot, and doing the same to a Playstation would produce a gay one while the Xbox appears to be perfect and sinless.
  • Butt Monkey:
  • Cain and Abel: Rory and Ethan.
  • Captain Obvious: Author's comment in the infamous miscarriage arc:
    And I know that it [the miscarriage]'s often much harder on the woman than on the man.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Since the miscarriage, there have been more purely dramatic strips and less gags, culminating in the Grand Finale where Ethan dies in a Heroic Sacrifice to save two timelines.
  • Chainsaw Good: This strip: [1]
  • Character Development/Character Derailment: Ethan suddenly acquires competence when he uses his cellphone as a wire. It's been theorized that this has something to do with Ethan and Lilah moving from boyfriend-girlfriend to married couple, where Ethan's behavior wouldn't really work. Or he did it as part of his daily seven seconds of focus.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Ethan trying out an RPG-themed rewards system (one of his rare, not-actually-that-bad ideas) at his game shop when he encounters a Gamer Chick who's trying to manipulate the system by buying ten games at once to get an eleventh one at a discount and then returning the first ten games. Ethan seems to get the upper hand after he sorts out the rules, but then she moves on rigging the tabletop games by, um, paying the entrance fees for a band of hobos for a prize that's only a percentage of the money she paid.
  • Idiot Houdini: Ethan's devolution to this is in large part why the comic has such a hatedom. In early strips, other characters put up with his stupidity only to the extent necessary to keep him as a character in the webcomic. By the time Winter-een-mas rolls around, the universe is bending over backward to turn all of his stupid ideas into outrageous successes. At the comic's end, he did end up getting some comeuppance by getting killed off trying to fix the consequences of his actions. The author admitted the decision behind this was that he was overdue to get some backlash after having things go his way for so long.

Critical MissGaming WebcomicsCuanta Vida
Line-of-Sight NameImageSource/Web ComicsConvenient Miscarriage
Wapsi SquareWebcomics Long RunnersDominic Deegan

alternative title(s): Ctrl Alt Del
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